What is Wrong With Nigerian Police?, By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

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By Abdulrazaq O. Hamzat,

Within the last 3 months, allegations of bribery, inefficiency and
corrupt practices have been slammed against the Nigerian Police by 3
different bodies.

Firstly, it was a former police officer and high ranking member of
National Assembly, Senator Isah Masau that painted the extent of
corruption in the Nigeria Police Force.

Secondly, a reputable government agency, National Bureau of Statistics
(NBS) in partnership with United Nations (UN) reported the extent of
bribery and corruption in the police, when it ranked it as the most
corrupt public institution in Nigeria.

Then, just this past week, an International Organization, World
Internal Security and Police Index International (WISPI) reported that
the Nigerian Police is the worst in the world. The police rejected all
the reports.

When allegations of corruption or inefficiency are slammed against the
police, hardly does any Nigerian contest the allegation. For a long
time, many Nigerians have held the view that the Nigerian Police is
one of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. This is a tag the
police authorities have often rejected.

However, the prevalence of bribe taking police officers in our
stations and highways didn’t justify the denial of the police
authorities. While the police may be correct that they are not the
only corrupt institution in Nigeria or that those who alleged that the
police are corrupt are themselves guilty of the crime, the fact
available indicates that, police are very corrupt and we need to do
something about it very quickly.

Some times in August 2017, a former police officer, now a Senator of
the federal republic alleged that the police are guilty of bribery and
corruption. The Senator claimed that the Inspector General Of police,
Mr. Ibrahim Idris among other allegations, do collect bribe of over
N10 billion monthly from banks, multinational corporations and other
private organizations.

The IG was further accused of extorting money, ranging from N10m to
N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and
Special Protection Units (SPU) Commanders, for favorable postings.

However, the Force Headquarters refuted the claims, insisting that
Senator Misau deserted the Force upon been posted to Niger Command in
September 2010. The Nigeria Police also said that Senator Isah Misau
has no reasonable evidence to back the allegations of corruptions
against the Force. The IG has dragged him to court as we speak.

Meanwhile, a brief investigation at the banks and other private
organizations truly indicates that, private organization being served
by the police have special funds being paid to police for security,
but these funds does not go to the Federal Government.

Similarly, the National Bureau for Statistics, NBS stirred hornet’s
nest few months ago when it released its corruption perception index
report, which claimed that the police is the most corrupt public
institution in Nigeria. The damning report came the same day the
United Nations Office for Drug and Crimes (UNODC) released its own
corruption report that said Nigeria spent N400bn annually on bribes to
public officials.

According to the 2017 National Corruption Survey, 46.4 per cent of
Nigerian citizens have had “bribery contact” with police officers.
That is the worst case, compared to 33 per cent with prosecutors and
31.5 per cent with Judges/magistrates.

Again, the police authorities denied the claim of corruption as
contained in the Corruption Index. Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood
described the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as
false. He said: “Corruption is a personal thing and Nigeria Police
Force is not a corrupt institution and it is not for anybody to have
made such allegation. ”The allegations are mischievous because it is
not empirical and we distance ourselves from such and we want all
Nigerians to condemn such. ”In fact a lot of changes have been
introduced into the Force to ensure that we are accountable to the
people”, Nation quoted him as saying. The police said.

Then, another report came out from the World Internal Security and
Police Index International (WISPI). The 2016 report rates the Nigeria
Police Force the “worst” globally in terms of its ability to handle
internal security challenges. The indices used in accessing 127
countries from four key areas, namely, capacity, process, legitimacy
and outcomes, aim to measure the ability of the security apparatus
within a country to respond to internal security challenges, both now
and in future. According to the report, Nigeria police performed worst
on the index on all the four domains, with a score of 0.255.

However, the Nigeria Police has once again reacted to the report in a
negative way. The Police gunned down the ranking that puts it at the
bottom of the world police formations and said it is the best in the
world. “Nigeria Police Force is the best in UN Peace Keeping
Operations, Best in Africa, One of the Best in the World the police
said.

The police added that, after a careful study of the report and the
news items emanating from it, it wishes to state categorically that
the report is entirely misleading, a clear misrepresentation of facts
and figures and essentially unempirical, considering the area of
coverage of the report which was said to have been carried out in 2016
by the above mentioned associations.

One will begin to wonder, can all this organizations be wrong at the
same time about police corruption and inefficiency or can the police
denial erase the tag of corruption against the institution? I am of
the view that, the Nigeria police should stop the denial and instead
look deep within it ranks to correct some of the identified lapses
that is making corruption strive within the institution.

If former police officers, reputable government agencies and NGO both
locally and internationally are saying the same thing about the
police, don’t you think it is high time for police authorities to
swallow the bitter pills and embark on genuine reforms to get rid of
corruption in the institution?

In peace and conflict circle, accepting the existence of the problem
is the first step in correcting it. Instead of this continuous denial,
the police authorities should ask themselves a simply question, ‘’what
is wrong with Nigerian police’’ and set out an evidence based methods
of addressing it.

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat is the Executive Director of Foundation for Peace
Professionals and can be reached on [email protected]

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of NewsRescue
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